On November 28, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the Feast of the Apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew. By the Pontifical Encyclical of November 28, 2014 of His Holiness Karekin II, the Feast Day of the Founders of the Armenian Church, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew has been declared a pilgrimage day of the Holy Lance.
A Divine Liturgy was offered in the Mother Cathedral on the Feast of the first Illuminators of the Armenian Church. Present at the sacred were ceremony were diocesan primates; bishops of the Mother See; Brotherhood members of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Sunday school teachers of the Armenian dioceses, and numerous pilgrims.
On this occasion the Holy Lance (Geghard) was taken to the Mother Cathedral, and during the celebration of Divine Liturgy, the faithful had the opportunity to kiss it and receive blessings from the miraculous Holy Lance. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Asoghik Karapetyan, Director of Museums and Archives of Mother See.
On the occasion of the great and cherished feast, Fr. Asoghik congratulated His Holiness, the clergy, and the pious faithful. He stated in his sermon: “Indeed, the Feast of St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew is one of the greatest feasts of our National Church, because centuries ago, with divine providence those two apostles came to Armenia, to preach the Holy Gospel and to grant the Holy Gospel life and effectiveness with their blood…
At some point, as our fathers of the church say, through the delusion of God’s enemy satan; the Armenian people forgot about piety and fell into idolatry. Just as when Moses climbed up Mount Sinai, there was no news from him for a long time, and people suddenly approached Aaron and made demands, saying that Moses went and his God went with him. Therefore, we have no God. Let’s make a new idol, a golden calf which will be our God. That people who saw the Revelation of God, and came out of that gulf through divine guidance, suddenly forgot God and worshiped an idol. And so are we, Armenians, who had true godliness, as the descendants of Noah, Torgom and Hayk, followed idolatry and for centuries and millennia lived in darkness. When Our God, appeared among humanity as the Only Begotten Son, then, through his apostles He was spread throughout the world. And these two apostles came into the Armenian world and preached the Holy Gospel, preached the truth that we knew, but had forgotten. You know that due to circumstances of the past and various reasons we had forgotten, but we had the historical memory. That’s why the apostolic preaching found a fertile ground among us, and the Armenians became the followers of the Holy Apostles, became Christians, waiting for the blessed moment when God guided St. Gregory the Illuminator, so that the Armenian nation converted, becoming God’s own people”.
Reflecting on the joyful fact of that the Holy Lance ‘Geghard’ had been brought into the Cathedral, Father Asoghik noted: “A year ago, His Holiness made a personal decision, which was fortunate, as a Pontifical Encyclical was proclaimed in the 21st century, so that on this cherished feast, the Holy Lance ‘Geghard’ will be brought out for the reverance of the Armenian nation and all Christians. Here, in front of you, is the spear that pierced Christ.
And as the martyrology prompts and testifies, the Apostle St. Thaddeus came to Armenia and through the power of the Holy Lance, performed such miracles that the Armenians, who were followers of idolatry, immediately recognized the true God, bowed before His mightiness, becoming His follower.
In these confusing times, the might of the Holy Lance ‘Geghard’ will come to reinforce us in our faith, commitment and mission”.
The celebrant expressed his wish that the Lord keep the Armenian Church strong through the power of the Cross and the sign of the Holy Lance.
The Holy Lance ‘Geghard’ was kept in the Mother Cathedral until the end of the Evening Service.